History

Sea Cadets helps teenagers to stretch themselves and become the best they can be. We know what that takes because we've been doing it for over 160 years.

The turbulence of youth

The pressures that young people face are ever-changing, but what remains constant is that the teenage years can be turbulent. Independence is exciting, but also daunting.

For orphans of the Crimean War, sleeping in the back streets of England’s sea ports, life looked bleak. To help them, coastal communities banded together to provide places for sailors to pass on nautical skills and training to give these destitute young people a future. This is how, in 1856, the Naval Lads’ Brigade was born.

Royal patronage

Soon, they were springing up across the country, and in 1899, Queen Victoria marked their importance to young people by becoming Patron, and giving £10 to the Windsor unit for uniforms.

Today, HM The Queen is our Patron and HRH The Prince Andrew Duke of York KG GCVO is our Admiral of the Corps.

Scroll through our gallery to learn more about our rich history....

Colchester unit is almost unique within the Sea Cadet Corps in having an entire ship on which to operate. We are very proud of this fact and the ethos we feel it generates within the unit. We are afterall, literally, all in the same boat! This has enabled us to generate a remarkable level of teamwork and camaraderie within the ship's company, tangible as soon as visitors step aboard.

We encourage our Cadets to take an active role in both their own careers within the Corps as well as in the instruction and support of junior Cadets. We feel this approach benefits our Cadets enormously in terms of building their confidence and understanding, whilst at all times maintaining an appropriate level of supervision.

This environment has produced some fantastic achievements to date, including; the youngest RYA certified sailing instructor in Europe (aged 16), national awards for Leadership, Engineering and Seamanship, the youngest ever female Trinity House sponsored merchant navy officer cadet (also aged 16) as well as Colchester Cadets making up a large part of the national Sea Cadet offshore yacht racing squads (male and female).

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